What Is The Pride of Life?

Question: “What is the pride of life?”

Answer: The phrase “pride of life” is found only once in the Bible, in 1 John 2:16; but the concept of the pride of life, especially as it is linked with the “lust of the eyes” and the “lust of the flesh,” appears in two more significant passages of Scripture—the temptation of Eve in the Garden and the temptation of Christ in the wilderness (Matthew 4:8-10). The pride of life can be defined as anything that is “of the world,” meaning anything that leads to arrogance, ostentation, pride in self, presumption, and boasting. John makes it clear that anything that produces the pride of life comes from a love of the world and “if anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15).

The first example of the temptation of the pride of life occurs in the Garden of Eden, where Eve was tempted by the serpent to disobey God and eat the forbidden fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Eve perceived that the fruit was “good for food,” “pleasing to the eye,” and “desirable for gaining wisdom” (Genesis 3:6). She coveted the fruit in three ways. First, it was appealing to her appetite. This John refers to as the “lust of the flesh,” the desire for that which satisfies any of the physical needs. The fruit was also pleasing or delightful to the eye, that which we see and desire to own or possess. Here is the “lust of the eyes” John refers to. Finally, Eve somehow perceived that the fruit would make her wise, giving her a wisdom beyond her own. Part of Satan’s lie was that eating the fruit would make her “like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:5).

Here is the essence of the pride of life—anything that exalts us above our station and offers the illusion of God-like qualities, wherein we boast in arrogance and worldly wisdom. Eve wanted to be like God in her knowledge, not content to live in a perfect world under His perfect grace and care for her. Satan tried these same three temptations on Christ during His 40 days in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11). He tempted Jesus with the lust of the flesh, bread for His hunger (vv. 2-3), the lust of the eyes, “all the kingdoms of the world with their splendor” (vv. 8-9), and the pride of life, daring Him to cast Himself from the roof of the Temple in order to prove that He was the Messiah by an ostentatious display of power that was not in the will of God or His plan for the redemption of mankind (vv. 5-6). But Jesus, though He was “tempted in every way, just as we are” (Hebrews 4:15), resisted the devil and used the Word of God to ensure victory over him.

Christians have always been, and will always be, lured by the same three temptations Eve and Jesus experienced. Satan doesn’t change his methods; he doesn’t have to because they continue to be successful. He tempts us with the lust of the flesh—sexual gratification, gluttony, excessive alcohol consumption, and drugs, both legal and illegal, as well as the “deeds of the flesh” about which Paul warned the Galatians, “sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these” (Galatians 5:19-21). He tempts us with the lust of the eyes—the endless accumulation of “stuff” with which we fill our homes and garages and the insatiable desire for more, better, and newer possessions which ensnares us and hardens our hearts to the things of God.

But perhaps his most evil temptation is the pride of life, the very sin that resulted in Satan’s expulsion from heaven. He desired to be God, not to be a servant of God (Isaiah 14:12-15). The arrogant boasting which constitutes the pride of life motivates the other two lusts as it seeks to elevate itself above all others and fulfill all personal desires. It is the root cause of strife in families, churches and nations. It exalts the self in direct contradiction to Jesus’ statement that those who would follow Him must take up their cross (an instrument of death) and deny themselves. The pride of life stands in our way if we truly seek to be servants of the God. It is the arrogance that separates us from others and limits our effectiveness in the kingdom. The pride of life “comes not from the Father, but from the world.” And, as such, it is passing away with the world, but those who resist and overcome the temptation of the pride of life do the will of God and “the man who does the will of God lives forever” (1 John 2:17).

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The Bedfellows of Arrogance and Ignorance

How does it happen that one can be raised in a time of history where you have seen all of the prosperity and blessings that result from piety, from getting yourself aligned with the will of God, that some upstarts come and want to change everything? They seem to think they have something unique to give, some brand new form of leadership, some “evolved” philosophical world-view, that previous generations knew nothing of.

First piety begat prosperity, then the daughter divorced the mother!

You get blessed as you walk in stride with God, then that strange shift comes in imagining that all this came about because of some strength, some special formula, you yourself had. And you’re gonna do it alone . . . just like you think you always have.

This nation is on that edge right now!

All the issues . . . the outrageous life=styles, the “fiscal cliff,” have come about because the principles that made us strong in the first place have been thrown to the winds! The strengths we had have been abandoned.

Now we are shaken to the core financially, morally, spiritually, in families . . . till we do not know how to define the most fundamental questions of life: What does it mean to be human? What does marriage mean? What does sexuality mean?

Ask the average college professor . . . they are all at sea with these definitions.

And we get leaders coming in with NO chart or compass making all kinds of arrogant promises to the populace that they have no intentions on keeping, nor any idea how they would if they wanted to.

Comedians like Letterman and Jon Stewart make a joke of everything, minimize our Judeo/Christian underpinning, and those who have been trained NOT to think jump on the wagon and add their voices to the death chant.

Our only hope is a personal encounter with Christ . . . on a national level. He alone makes personal change a beautiful reality, and from the inside out brings purpose and value into each individual and ultimately to a nation.

May God help us!

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How Much Do You Make?

I was recently asked by a person bragging about how much money they make, “So, what do you make?” This was asked in a rather demeaning manner, knowing that I live on offerings.
I thought about it for a moment and answered . .
I make people think about their lives.
I make others aware of God’s love for them.
I make the way to the Father clear, understandable and beautiful.
I make people aware of the fact that God has a purpose for them.
I make husbands and wives understand the value of their relationship.
I make others realize the value of being!
I make the truth of God’s Word plain so others can find their way to heaven thru Christ.
I make people see the wonder of creation.
I make people THINK!
I make the answers to the mysteries of every human issue open and plain.

Then, when people judge me by what I “make,” with me knowing that money and personal possessions certainly aren’t everything, I can look up to God with thanksgiving that He has called me to a much higher purpose, and that they are simply ignorant, shallow and poor.

You want to know what I make? Thanks to God I make a difference!

So, tell me again . . . what is it you make?

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The Older Brother


There is a deep tension between righteousness and love. Righteousness demands that all be perfect; love demands that all be forgiven. The tension is only reconciled at the Cross.
It is interesting to see the older brother and his reaction to the return of the other son. One can understand the resentment. The appearance is that the younger son is being rewarded for his evil behavior, and the older son’s behavior—which the father acknowledges as being righteous—never got such a celebration. But in this, the older brother misses the point.
The celebration is for the father, not the son. The celebration is not being given to acknowledge the worthiness of the younger son, nor of the righteousness of his repentance, nor anything else relating to the son. It is being given to celebrate the joy of the father. The younger son is not worthy of such a celebration—but the father’s joy certainly requires it.
So it is with us. We sometimes mistake our repentance for true righteousness, and begin to imagine that God “owes us.” In fact, we can do nothing which would put God in our debt. It is his love for us that brings us home.
Interestingly, we can see this love in the way the father treats the older brother. As he had compassion on the younger son, he had compassion on the older son. He does not rebuke him for his lack of understanding. When the older son refuses to come in, he goes out to him, just as he ran to the younger one. His words are gentle and kind.
Even though the older son replies in terms of anger and scorn, the father does not turn on him. He does not resent the insult, but gently instructs the older son in the matters of a father’s heart.
We see love in a small and relative sense; only God is love, absolutely. For that reason his actions sometimes appear strange to us, as if he did not reason through the matter. Wisdom is justified by her children, however. Think what the love of God has done for us on the Cross!
Many of us see things the older brother’s way. We want to go to church with the right people, and want no contact with the filth of our society. We substitute respectability for righteousness. The cure for this is not another set of rules and regulations, but the love God pours out. As he was merciful to the younger son, the profligate, he was also merciful to the older son, the refrigerator. Perhaps there is hope for all of us.

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Morbus Sabbaticus

An anonymous author described the condition of regularly missing church as “morbus Sabbaticus” or better, “Sunday sickness.” He said that this is a disease peculiar to some church members. The symptoms vary, but are generally observed and never last more than twenty four hours. The symptoms never interfere with the appetite, nor affect the eyes. The Sunday paper can be read with no pain. TV seems to help the eyes. No doctor is ever called. The patient begins to improve almost immediately after the services start. No symptoms are usually felt on Saturday. The patient sleeps well and wakes feeling well. He eats a hearty Sunday Breakfast, but then the attack comes and lasts until services are over for the morning. The patient then feels better and the problem seems to go away. The patient feels better and eats a solid dinner. After dinner, he takes a nap, and then watches one or two pro football games on TV. He may go fishing or work in his yard and feels well enough to do what he pleases. He may take a walk before supper and stop and chat with neighbors. If there are church services scheduled for Sunday evenings, he will likely have a relapse about an hour before service time. Invariably, he will wake up on Monday morning and rush off to work with no ill effects from the attack the day before. The symptoms will surely appear again the afternoon of the midweek service and probably the following Sunday as well. After a few of these “attacks” at weekly intervals, the disease seems to become chronic, it becomes worse and, for some, even terminal. Some are so affected that they quit going to church altogether.
The only cure for “morbus Sabbaticus” is to first repent of the sin of unfaithfulness and disobedience to Christ’s commands. You see it is sin and disobedience for a child of God to shun the church and fail to be at their appointed place and time. Before a Christian can become faithful and get back in fellowship with God they must confess their sin, and then God will give them strength to overcome their failure (1 John 1:9). The second part of the cure is to make the decision once and for all time, to be faithful to the Lord. Once the decision is made, you will not have to make it again.

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OK . . . The Plan Is . . .

I have been reading the input that was given to my questions.
Results so far from :

I have been carefully considering all that has been said. I really appreciate the input, however I wish there would have been more. Those of you that took the time to think and write are awesome and I take every word you said seriously.

There are several subjects that your input has brought my attention to and that I believe need to be addressed in a legitimate, realistic and constructive manner. I have been thinking long and hard about how to go about doing what I can, in MY abilities and reach, to effectively confront the issues brought up and meet the need head on. Certainly a book would be helpful and may even reach some people who have the need for help in these areas. However, my immediate concern is for the outreach of my own ministry in my own area . . . and to work outward from there.

So, here is what I am thinking. (and what I’m no looking for your input on)

Once to twice a month, maybe on Sunday evenings, I am planning on conducting public “Open Forum Meetings,” which would include a lecture on each given subject with a Q&A time to follow. Not a time for debates or contention, but of honest, relevant, intelligent and meaningful explanations on real, pressing and generally misunderstood subjects.

• Need God? What if I don’t? What if I just don’t care?
• Is it the end of the word as we know it?
• Where is God?
• Has Christianity Failed?
• If God loves me, why did He let this happen?
• The truth will set you free. From what?
• Resurrection? Prove it!
• Faith ? A blind leap in the dark?
• How do you know you’re right about your religion?
• Is science the enemy of belief in God?
• Why Jesus?
• Who are we?
• What does it mean to be human?
• I don’t like “organized religion.”

These are subjects that I have drawn out of the input from my past questions to you all, and also from personal conversations with many others over the course of more than 30 years of my Christian experience.

I think that coffee and refreshments could be part of the mix. At first it will have to be at my church because of financial constraints, but the ultimate goal would be to have these public forums in a neutral setting, like a VFW Post or even a school auditorium if we could swing it, so non-Christians or those who may hold to differing world views would not feel intimidated or alienated. I believe these are important questions that need to be addressed and that there is a hunger by many to ask the questions. I also believe it is the responsibility of the local Bible believing churches to carefully examine WHY these questions are going unanswered and are allowed to grow in the minds of our own communities.

A format must be planned and made crystal clear, not only in the minds of those of us who are hosting and moderating the events, but also awareness of the constraints/agenda and attitude of each event MUST be made clear to all those who attend and/or participate.

A non-aggressive, non-adversarial and respectful atmosphere must be engendered and maintained at all times. Human dignity is certainly something we can all agree upon. This is not the setting for a debate! The point will be the presentation of the subject to consider the rationality of the Christian perspective with an open floor to questions and answers following the lecture. Not preaching!! (I’m sure there will be some brethren that will take exception to the terminology here)

The speaker/lecturer is to make an apologetic appeal to the rationality of the Christian world view in regards to the subject under consideration. An evangelical invitation to come to Christ will always be included (However, it will not be a compulsory traditional “Church” invitation). . . which is the objective of apologetics in removing objections to Christianity in the minds and hearts of the hearer.

By advertising and addressing questions that are edgy and relevant we hope to gain the attention of the lost who are thinking! We want to make thinkers believers, and believers thinkers.

So, I’m asking for input once again. Questions, suggestions, comments . . . let’er rip!

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Spiritual Reversals

Once it was the blessing, Now it is the Lord
Once it was the feeling, Now it is His Word
Once His gifts I wanted, Now the Giver own
Once I sought for healing, Now Himself alone.

That hymn was written by the well-known churchman and theologian Albert B. Simpson (1843-1919). The first time I heard it I thought to myself, How profound! How God-centered and how refreshing that the spiritual journey is to move from focusing on the benefits to the great romance and beauty of knowing the Author and Giver of life! Heaven, if it means anything, will mean being in the presence of the Ultimate Being, not BEING the ultimate.

Today’s spirituality actually would reverse the thought to:

Once it was the Lord, Now it is the blessing
Once it was His Word, Now it is the feeling
Once I knew the Giver, Now the gifts I own
Once I sought Himself, Now it is the healing of my “self” alone.

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Audio Sermons Preached From My Pulpit

The list below will be growing all the time, so check back every week. If you are using Google Chrome, just click on a link and a new window will open and automatically play the file. Or you can right click and save the mp3 file to your computer to play later. Any comments are welcome. CONSTRUCTIVE!!

Romans 1:1-6
Romans 1:7-17
Romans 1:17-19
Romans 1:19,20
Christ In A Box
An Encounter With God
Rational Faith
Disintegration and Holiness
Love of the Truth
The Reason for the Season
What Part Does Christ Have In Your Life

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Pause to Mourn the Truth

“The most valuable thing in the world is the truth,” said Winston Churchill. “The most powerful weapon in the world is the truth,” said Andrei Sakharov, the man who gave the Soviets the atomic bomb. “God is Truth and Truth is God,” said Mahatma Gandhi. From its value, to its power, to its deification, even as an abstract category truth becomes the final question in any conflict. Yet, again and again we find ourselves uncertain as to what truth means and why it matters. “What is truth?” asked Pontius Pilot impatiently . . . and walked away, without waiting for an answer. The irony is that he was standing in front of the one Person who, as the personification and embodiment of the Truth, could have given him the answer.

In the musical play by Andrew Lloyd Webber The Phantom of the Opera, the Phantom sings a beautiful piece titled “The Music of the Night.” One of the lines intimates that under cover of darkness it is easy to pretend that the truth is what each one of us wants it to be. When there is no light held to our version of the truth to call our bluff, we confuse what is with what we think ought to be, and infuse “the ought” with our own ideas to make it what we want it to be. Truth is that foundational reality we often resist but that, ultimately, we cannot escape. Nothing is so destructive as running from the truth, even as we know it will always outdistance us.

Tragically, we seem to be in a time in our cultural history when we no longer care about this question whatsoever. Seduced by a terminology carried by a media that distorts, we willingly, it seems, buy into a lie. From the news to the weather to advertising to entertainment, we are sold feelings, not truth. It seems that our societal trend is pursuing an imaginary universe that will finally bring us all together.

And all this is done in dark theaters or in the privacy of our own homes, giving us the illusion of being entertained while we are actually being indoctrinated by ideas that are deliberately planted within us.

What we are witnessing, at the very least, is that the propensity within us to blur the lines between what is real and what is imagined has been deliberately taken advantage of by fiction writers and especially movies. Stories can alter one’s way of viewing things. The playwright or author is no longer writing the play or the story. The play or the story is writing the playwright or author. And, in turn, the playwright and the play rewrite our own stories. This is the real world of our time. The world of entertainment has become the most powerful means of propaganda, and the audience is unaware of how much it is being acted upon and manipulated, paying for it not only in cash but in having its dreams stolen.

Adaptation from Ravi Zacharias

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Human Beings or Human Doings?

There is much misunderstanding and contention when we see each other not as human beings, but as human doings.

God sees us for who we are, not for what we do. I am created in the image and likeness of God. There is intrinsic value in each Human BEING! Because of the fallen nature of man, our attention has degraded from the BEING to the DOING. A great example is the love I have discovered for my wife. My attention was focused on what she would do, how she would act and perform. What she looked like and mistakes she would make. Drove me crazy, and her as well. Maybe its just that I am getting older, but I’ve come to see who she IS rather than all the layers of veneer. Her value to me is beyond words. When I saw this, everything else . . mistakes, problems, annoying idiosyncrasies, . . . . were completely swallowed up in who she is. When God opened my eyes to this, not only did our 40 year relationship become something brand new, but the way I began to see others changed as well. Its who we are, not what we do. We are Human Beings!!!!! NOT Human DOINGS!!! Let it be. Love regardless.

For God so loved the world . . . He sees us for what we are WORTH! If your baby had a terminal sickness, what would you do? Turn your face away? Be disgusted with your baby? Or would you hate the sickness that was killing your baby? Your love for your baby would stand out even more!!! The emotions you would have would drive you to do ANYTHING for that baby to cure it of the sickness that was killing it. Even giving your own life. THAT is the love of God. He sees the value, the worth, of the individual apart from the sin that is killing them. People are people, and sin is wicked and vicious as it ravages us all . . . . . But God, Who is gracious and merciful beyond measure, when we were yet sinners, died for the ungodly. Learn from the Love of God.

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